Young carers become university students for a day             

Richard Hill and Fatima Lakhani, student ambassadors, Anglia Ruskin University, pictured with Kerry, part of the Carers Trust young carers group

Richard Hill and Fatima Lakhani, student ambassadors, Anglia Ruskin University, pictured with Kerry, part of the Carers Trust young carers group

Young carers from around Huntingdon were welcomed to the Anglia Ruskin Cambridge campus to get a taste of student life. The visit was organised by Carers Trust and Take Your Place to give these 15-16 year olds an insight into university life and exploring how the flexibility of student life can fit around caring responsibilities. The young carers were above to explore the breadth of study options open to them locally as well as learning about what kind of help and support is on offer both financially and emotionally.

Beka Avery, County Coordinator, Take Your Place, explained, “Making decisions about what to do after school or college can be hard for any young person, but making a decision that is right for you whilst taking into account your caring responsibilities at home is an even bigger challenge.”

The group met with five students from Anglia Ruskin University studying a range of courses from Adult nursing, Zoology, English Literature, Drama and even an MBA student. The day started with a fact finding quiz followed by a discussion about each of the students’ different journeys to higher education and their own individual experiences. The young carers were given the chance to explore the courses that matched their interests, some discovering subjects they hadn't ever heard of before!

Our young carers then took to the campus, instructing the student guides on what they wanted to see and where they wanted to go. They had the opportunity to explore different campus areas, subject areas and learning facilities as they found out about different courses. Of particular interest to our participants was the sport science facilities (our carers weren’t aware that sports science was a subject!) and the Ruskin Art Gallery.

Richard Hill, Student Ambassador for Anglia Ruskin University, commented, “It was great to get to know the young carers. In contrast to normal school groups they behaved with a sense of ‘introverted maturity’. When they saw the studio space in the arts department, and the sports science facilities they really lit up and came out of their shells to ask questions. I think it was because we asked them what they wanted to see – our talks and tour responded to what interested them the most, delivering organic personalised information.”

Our young carers also found out about the marketing of chocolate in the UK with a lecture by Cheryl Greyson, Deputy Head of the School of Management, including samples to help the creative process.

“This was another highlight of the day,” continued Richard, “working as a team to present a slogan back to the group saw the young carers go from introverted youngsters to team leaders in such a short space of time was truly inspiring.”

The young carers also got to know more about the Student Union and all of the different clubs and societies they could join as a university student as well as meeting with Student Money Advice to find out about Student Finance and the well-being service.

Vlad Catusanu, Student Ambassador at Anglia Ruskin University commented “The day with the young carers was one of the most fun experiences I have had as a Student Ambassador! Getting to learn … their stories, whilst presenting them the campus made for a day that felt just like a mini-open day!”

This visit was made possible through the work that Take Your Place have been doing in collaboration with the Carers Trust on behalf of the Network of East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco).